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Caffeine Alternative Energy Fatigue Productivity Tiredness

How To Boost Your Energy

Energy Boosters

Lift off…

Feeling tired, fatigued or burnt out? You’re not alone. According to the National Safety Council more than 43% of workers are sleep-deprived.
Fatigue – You’re More Than Just Tired, NSC

The fact that tiredness is on the rise may account for the global demand for energy-boosting products being at an all time high. Caffeine consumption is on the rise and producers are capitalizing on the trend by providing more products that contain caffeine.

With all these products being put out in the market, it may make it easier to exceed recommended caffeine limits. 

So what are the alternatives to consuming caffeine to boost our energy levels?

Boost
Photo by dan carlson @dan_carl5on on Unsplash Full focus at a coffee shop

Why Are We So Tired?

Our modern lifestyles tend to encourage behaviors that as a whole can lead us to feeling tired. Demanding jobs, long shifts, long weeks, sleep loss, no rest breaks and long commutes are just a few of the ways that we may be contributing to our tired state of affairs.

Compounding the issue is our willingness to use stimulants such as caffeine to give us a boost of energy to get us through the day.

Does Caffeine Really Boost Our Energy Levels

Caffeine tricks our minds into releasing dopamine, which makes us feel alert, motivated and good about ourselves. This makes us feel as though we have more energy than we actually have.

Eventually, you’ll need ever increasing amounts of caffeine to achieve the same energy boosting effects. This can happen as soon as a week to 12 days.

When trying to give up caffeine, withdrawal symptoms can begin as fast as between 12 to 24 hours, explaining why some people need a coffee in the morning to feel as though they are awake.

Withdrawal symptoms include but are not limited to the following:

  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting

Alternative Boosters

Companies such as Bayer AG, PepsiCo, Boehringe Ingelheim GmbH and Sanofi are investigating using herbal and/or traditional medicines as alternatives to using caffeine.

As an individual you can use the following techniques and tips right away to help boost your energy:

  • Number one is to get more sleep.
    Although everyone is different, studies show that most people are most alert when they regularly get between 7 to 8 hours sleep.
  • If you are working on a tedious task, take regular breaks.
    Performance tends to decrease after 90 mins of continuously working.
  • Be alerted to when you are tired by using a tiredness alarm like V-CAF.
    V-CAF is an Apple Watch app that works by subtly notifying you when you are most likely to be drowsy and not focused on your current activity.
  • Eat whole foods and avoid foods containing processed sugar.
    This will help keep your energy levels balanced throughout the day.

Review

The best way to boost your energy is to make better lifestyle choices and avoid stimulants that trick your body into thinking it has more energy than it does.

Here are the takeaways:

  • Get more sleep
  • Whilst working or doing something that you need to focus on, take lots of breaks
  • Use tiredness alarms such as V-CAF
  • Eat whole foods, avoid processed foods

Conclusion

Tiredness is our body’s way telling us to slow down and take care of ourselves.

By trying to short circuit our body’s defense systems, we put ourselves and others at risk.

A few simple lifestyle changes can really improve our quality of life.

Categories
Caffeine Caffeine Addiction Sleep Tiredness

Caffeine and the Herd

Are You A Herd Follower?

Break free, be you…

Currently I am on a course learning about how to understand current market conditions and how to maneuver through them in these challenging times.

Everyone in the course seems very intelligent and if not at the top of their game, very near it. They all strike me as being independent thinkers and more suited to be leaders rather than followers.

The course instructor is intelligent and quick-witted and keeps everyone engaged. However, I couldn’t help but notice that he made a point of telling us the times of the coffee breaks, where the coffee was located and how much it costs.

At the break times more than half of the attendees would have a cup of coffee or at least debate having one. No big deal. A few of them in conversation told me that they needed their coffee in the morning to wake up, others said they drink out of habit.

This got me thinking about a study I read that suggested that a lot of people start drinking coffee or caffeine drinks because of social or work etiquette. The study went on to say that those who do have a caffeine dependency tended to develop them whilst working or studying.

So, in this article I’ll be looking into the role of peer pressure plays in peoples caffeine dependency.

break out from the herd
Photo by Theo Leconte @theoo on Unsplash A cow

Caffeine is the most commonly used legal stimulant. The majority of us get our fix via coffee, tea and soda.

It is noted in Wikipedia as a “Notable Stimulant” and is stated as being the world’s most widely used psychoactive drug.
Stimulant, Wikipedia 

Yet most don’t see it as a drug and rarely think about the effects that overdosing may have on their physiology. Caffeine is seen as normal and is entrenched in our culture. The following quote from Scientific American indicates how caffeine consumption has become part of our daily experience:

“Morning commuters seem to fall into one of two categories: the Caffeinated and the Un-caffeinated…

The Caffeinated are bright-eyed and engaged with the day’s events already—they’re reading their morning papers, or checking email, or reading for pleasure…

This is not the case for the Un-Caffeinated. This group sleeps through the AM commute both on the commuter trains and the subway. They’re bleary eyed.

The line that runs out the door of the Starbucks across from my job never seems to shrink. Are the ranks of the Caffeinated growing?

The culture of coffee has been carefully cultivated to ensure maximum reach.”

Krystal D’Costa August 11, 2011, Scientific American 

Pressure

In 2018 the global caffeine market was valued at $340 million, of which North America was the largest consumer (12,572 metric tons), 36% of global consumption.

Caffeine production is dominated by 11 companies, which account for 89% of global production. China is the largest global producer with a 54% share in the market. India is the second largest producer. The biggest companies are:

  • CSPC 
  • BASF 
  • Shandong Xinhua 
  • Kudos Chemie Limited 
  • Aarti Healthcare 
  • Zhongan Pharmaceutical 
  • Jilin Shulan 
  • Youhua Pharmaceutical 
  • Spectrum Chemical

MarketWatch

The market is expected to grow to $610 million by 2025. This translates to a projected increase in demand of 179.41%. Where do you think that demand is going to come from?

The global coffee industry is worth over $100 billion, and is currently experiencing compound annual growth rate of 5.5%.

“the coffee market is currently experiencing considerable growth in economies around the world, with the rise in urbanization and the demand for quick, quality product fueling the expansion.  The market is expected to continue to inflate in the next five years, leaving ample room for returns and profit.”

Andrew Menke, The Global Coffee Industry, Global Edge 

Manufactured demand for caffeine products is well underway now. Maybe it’s time to start asking questions about why you consume caffeinated products. 

Is it really your choice, or is something/someone else at work here?

Uniquely You

And now we can look at the bigger picture a bit clearer. Cultural norms can be created to get us to act in predetermined ways. Whilst good for companies, they are not necessarily always for our benefit.

I have outlined some of the effects of the overconsumption of caffeine in other articles in an attempt to bring awareness to this issue.

I believe that the best way to deal with the effects of over consuming caffeine is to take positive actions that will help us to reclaim control over our lives and ourselves.

This blog and our app, V-CAF, is an attempt by us to try to make a difference by being the difference we want to see in the world.

The following tips are things that I found useful to help me overcome my tiredness and lack of motivation:

  • Exercise – raises energy the old fashioned way by increasing our  body’s capability to deal with stress, and expands endurance. The benefits are too numerous to list here but, it just works.
  • Sleep – exercise helps us to have better quality deeper sleep. Sometimes the amount of sleep is not enough, but deep quality sleep is what we should be striving for.
  • Tiredness – feeling tired led to the development of V-CAF an Apple Watch app that subtlety informs you when you are most likely to fall asleep. By knowing that you are tired you can take measures to help bring your alertness and focus back to where you need it more efficiently.
  • Eat well – good quality whole foods will give your body the fuel it needs to get through the day. Also by eating healthily you can increase your energy and raise your mood.
  • Drink Water – keeping your brain hydrated will do wonders for your focus and alertness whilst helping your body to cleanse itself.

Review

Don’t follow the herd and take control of yourself. There is nothing wrong with drinking coffee or consuming caffeinated products in moderation. However, if you find yourself doing anything because of habit, ask yourself why?

Here are the takeaways:

  • Do Exercise
  • Get Deep Sleep
  • Use tools like V-CAF to help keep you notified of when you feel tired.
  • Eat Good Quality Whole Foods
  • Drink Water

Conclusion

If you don’t take control of your own life, someone else will.

Each one of us is unique and responds differently to stimuli.

Remember this and reclaim your most valuable asset, you.

Categories
Caffeine Caffeine Alternative Energy

Are Energy Drinks Dangerous?

Waking Up To The Dangers of Energy Drinks

Wake up…

The amount of people that consume energy drinks is increasing. Drinkers are looking for more energy, alertness and stamina, but aren’t necessarily aware of the amount of caffeine they are ingesting. 

Unaware that it is possible to be poisoned by caffeine, many consume more than the recommended daily limits of 400mg.

Unfortunately, because caffeine is a drug, you can develop a tolerance to it, which in turn leads to an ever-increasing amount of consumption to get the same effects.

In this article I’ll point out some of the dangers related to increased caffeine consumption due to drinking energy drinks.

Mercy Monster
Photo by thom masat @tomterifx on Unsplash Mercy Monster, San Francisco, United States

Caffeine Unawareness

A consequence of the increasing consumption of energy drinks is a rise in unintentional caffeine poisoning.

Consumers of energy drinks may think that they are harmless and overlook the dangers that they are exposing themselves too.

Compounding the problem is that many caffeine energy drinks do not list the amount of caffeine they contain, and are marketed as healthy dietary supplements because they contain ingredients such as milk thistle or ginkgo.

The Damage Caused by Drinking Too Many Energy Drinks

Caffeine is already seen as an acceptable drug by society, and few see any issues with consuming it. In fact it’s seen as being a valuable productivity aid.

Of late, energy drinks have also been increasingly used as a weight loss aid and as a strength booster whilst exercising.

Doctors and medical professionals are unsure about the long-term affects of over stimulating your nervous system.

By regularly consuming more than 400mg per day of caffeine you increase the likelihood that you will suffer from the following ailments:

  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Convulsions
  • Increased heart rate (possibly Tachycardia)
  • Abdominal pain

Know Your Limits

Being aware of the dangers of drinking too much caffeine is the first step in protecting your health. The next is to take action.

Below are some alternative tips to help you get the positive effects of drinking energy drinks, without caffeine:

  • Drink water
    Increasing your water intake can help boost your focus.
  • Do regular exercise
    Regular exercise can boost your strength and stamina, as well as help increase your focus and alertness.
  • Take notice of your tiredness
    Take note of when you are tired and work with your body’s natural rhythm. Tiredness alarms such as V-CAF subtly alert you to when you are most likely to be tired, so you can take the appropriate action.
  • Get better quality sleep
    Quantity of sleep isn’t enough. By also having better quality sleep you can increase weight loss, increase productivity and boost your mood.

Summary

People have died due to over consuming energy drinks. Researchers think that it is the lack of public awareness to the dangers of drinking too much caffeine that has lead to these deaths.

By being aware of the elevated caffeine levels in energy drinks you can help protect your health.

To avoid drinking energy drinks:

  • Drink lots of water
  • Have a regular exercise routine
  • Take notice of your tiredness by using tiredness alarms such as V-CAF 
  • Get better quality sleep

Conclusion

Caffeine is becoming more popular as an ingredient in many food and drink products, making it difficult to keep track on how much caffeine we consume.

It may be wise to limit the amount of caffeine that we consume each day so that we don’t unwittingly poison ourselves.

Categories
Addiction Caffeine Addiction Relapse Side Effects

Is It Okay To Caffeine Relapse?

What To Do When I Relapse?

Take it one day at a time

It is difficult for many who have become dependent on caffeine to give it up.

Many of those that try to abstain from consuming caffeine find themselves at some point going back to drinking coffee or caffeinated drinks. Some even find themselves consuming more than they did before they tried to abstain.

In this article we’ll discuss if it is such a big deal to go back to consuming caffeine and what to do if you find yourself going back.

Enjoy The Café in Italy
Photo by jwlez @jwlez on Unsplash Enjoy The Café in Italy, 10 Corso Como, Milano, Italy

Caffeine Relapse

You have done the difficult thing of accepting that you have a problem with caffeine dependency and decide to take the plunge and to give it up.

The first few days are tough, but you do well. Then one day you find yourself with a caffeinated drink in your hand about to take a swig saying to yourself, “I failed”!

This is far more common than you may think. The National Institute on Drug Abuse has found that between 40 and 60 percent of people recovering from drug addiction relapse.
National Institute on Drug Abuse

Triggers

This is further compounded by the fact that the withdrawal symptoms are similar to the reasons why so many people start consuming caffeine.

Withdrawal symptoms including, but not limited to the following are common:

  • Tiredness
  • Headaches
  • Lack of focus
  • Diminished concentration
  • Irritability

The withdrawal affects themselves can act as relapse triggers. Other triggers such as feeling down, lack of sleep and environments that remind you of consuming caffeine make it very difficult to give up caffeine.

What You Can Do

Relapse doesn’t mean that you can never quit. In fact it’s actually part of the recovery process. Your attitude towards your relapse can greatly affect if you try again or give up.

Here are some tips to help you to get back on track:

  • Restart immediately
    The faster you decide to continue your abstinence, the easier it will be for you to get back in the flow.
  • Avoid triggers
    Analyze what frame of mind you were in when you relapsed, and work to avoid or overcome it next time around.
  • Don’t be tired
    Being tired increases the risk of you falling back into your caffeine dependency. Get more sleep and use tiredness alarms such as V-CAF that will alert you when you are most likely to be tired, so that you can take the appropriate action to wake yourself up.
  • Join or build a support group
    By joining a support group you can get very helpful positive feedback and advice that can help you either stay on course or put you back when you fall off. 

Review

Relapsing is part of the recovery process and many people have found that after a relapse, that they are stronger in facing caffeine dependency the next time around.

Remember to keep a positive mindset and follow our tips:

  • Restart immediately
  • Avoid triggers as much as possible
  • Get enough sleep and know when you are tired, by using tools such as V-CAF 
  • Become a member of a support group

Last Thoughts

Again, be positive and don’t give up!

To benefit you must act on what you now know. Nothing beats informed practical application and now you have an advantage. 

I’m sure that you’ll be successful, but here’s wishing you luck anyway.